What’s on site
It’s a World Cup emergency – watch our reaction to the massive news from yesterday that Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the tournament.
World Cup organisers reportedly found out just four minutes before the news went public, and they were naturally disappointed by the move.
RFL chairman Simon Johnson branded it a selfish, parochial and cowardly decision.
International Rugby League chief Troy Grant claims that players have contacted him expressing their frustration that their own personal choice around whether to play in the World Cup or not, has been taken away from them by the national governing bodies’ decision.
Ireland international Tyrone McCarthy says the World Cup should go ahead without Australia and New Zealand, and give an opportunity to two emerging nations to compete.
What’s on social
Just a bit.
“Without Australia and New Zealand, this is catastrophic”
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 22, 2021
Could we see Kangaroos representing other nations?
— Rewster (@Rewster7) July 22, 2021
Not sure how merch sales would go for this nickname.
The 1946 GB squad that braved bomb-ridden seas at the end of WWII to save Australian rugby league were nicknamed 'The Indomitables'
How about history records the 2021 Kangaroos and Kiwis who knocked back first class air travel as 'The Chickenshits'?#RLWC2021
— Tony Hannan (@AJHannanEsq) July 22, 2021
It’s even hit cross-party politics.
The Johnson Variant and the Johnson Chaos strike again … Not sure he is aware of Rugby League, but it is one of the greatest sports on earth, and his Rogue State/Plague State/Failed State leadership has just wrecked a World Cup on home soil … https://t.co/DiczBZvObR
— ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@campbellclaret) July 22, 2021
What’s in the papers
More than 75% players have said they don’t have any concerns about playing at the World Cup, leading to calls for the Rugby League Players’ Association Down Under to step in and intervene. (Huddersfield Examiner)
Hull KR will play only their 11th Super League game of the season this weekend as they travel to Catalans in a hastily arranged fixture. Coach Tony Smith told the Yorkshire Post: “Who it was against and where it was didn’t really matter to us. We just want to play and appreciate the opportunity that we’ve got.”
Sky Sports presenter and dual-code international Brian Carney turns 45 today (July 23).
Also celebrating: Widnes half-back Matty Smith (34); one of Leigh’s Tonga connections Liuaki Hansen (53); former Halifax player and coach Tony Anderson (60)
What’s on TV/radio
9am – Live NRL: Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights – Watch NRL
11am – Live NRL: North Queensland v Melbourne Storm – Sky Sports Mix
Leroy Cudjoe made his 300th appearance for Huddersfield in the win over Hull FC, some 13 years after making his debut against Leeds.